PROUD OF INDIAN WOMEN FOOTBALL TEAM: CHHETRI, GURPREET - The Daily Guardian
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PROUD OF INDIAN WOMEN FOOTBALL TEAM: CHHETRI, GURPREET

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Sunil Chhetri.
Sunil Chhetri.

Wishes poured in for the Indian women’s football team on the eve of their match against Brazil, which is set to kick off on November 26.

With just a day left for the Indian Women’s Team being the first senior football team from the country to play a match against Brazil, Indian Senior Men’s Team captain Sunil Chhetri, who was conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award earlier this month, wished the side all the best for the “interesting matches” coming up ahead. “Hey girls, I hope everyone of you is happy and healthy. I just wanted to wish every one of you all the best for the upcoming games. Brazil, Chile, Venezuela – some really interesting games. Go out there, enjoy yourself, and as always, make us proud,” said Chhetri in a video message to the Indian Women’s Team.

Senior Men’s Team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu hoped that the matches against Brazil, Chile and Venezuela will be beneficial for the team to prepare for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which will be hosted in India next year.

“Wishing our Women’s Team all the very best for the matches in Brazil with the likes of Brazil, Chile and Venezuela. I hope these games give you good experience and a stepping stone for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup that you guys are going to play. And (we are) just so proud of you guys already. Give your 100 per cent,” said Gurpreet in his message.

Defender Sandesh Jhingan, who is currently playing for HNK Sibenik in the Prva HNL in Croatia, also expressed the pride that he takes in all the achievements of the Indian Women’s Team, and mentioned that he himself would also be closely following the fortunes of the team on the Brazil tour.

“Just want to wish the team all the very best for the matches in Brazil. I think it’s a great chance for us Indians to show how good we are. We are all very proud of the Women’s Team, I’m a big fan myself,” said Jhingan.

The Indian Women’s Team had travelled to Brazil earlier this week from Jamshedpur, where they had set camp since August, with infrastructural and logistical aid from the Government of Jharkhand.

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DHONI GETTING RETAINED IS GOOD SIGN FOR CSK: COACH M.P. SINGH

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Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s childhood coach MP Singh lauded Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for retaining the wicket-keeper batter ahead of the mega auction of the upcoming season.

CSK has retained Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Moeen Ali for the upcoming IPL. Speaking to ANI, MP Singh said, “CSK retaining Dhoni is a good sign for the franchise as no team would ever want to lose their champion player and that’s Dhoni for CSK. It is a player’s personal choice also that whether he wants to get retained or not. Overall, it’s a good decision.”

The coach was present at the event in the national capital where KFC assured support to the Indian Deaf Cricket Association (IDCA) for the World Cup 2023.

“It feels great to see that KFC will be sponsoring the deaf cricket in India. We have seen the players struggle from the beginning and now we can see their bright future. These players are currently preparing for the Champions League in Hyderbad, followed by Champions Trophy in Qatar and World Cup 2023 in Dubai,” said MP Singh.

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Have self-belief that we can go upwards from anywhere: Ajaz Patel

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New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel on Wednesday said that the BlackCaps are pretty confident about playing against India in the second Test of the ongoing two-match Test series in Mumbai.

The second Test of the two-match series will be played at the Wankhede Stadium from December 3 to 7. Skipper Virat Kohli will return to lead the hosts. New Zealand’s Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz put up a gritty performance to ensure that the visitors walked away with a draw at Green Park, Kanpur.

“For us, it’s still going into a game with the possibility of taking the series. We know the history of playing in India and we know how difficult it has been in the past. The beauty of our team at this moment is that we don’t look in history too much and we look at the present. For us, we have a sense of self-belief that we can go up from anywhere and recently we were able to take away the World Test Championship (WTC) from them,” said Ajaz Patel during a virtual press conference.

“So for us, now it’s just about playing the best cricket possible and everyone contributing. It’s not just one individual who comes to the party, it does take a team effort and that’s what Test cricket is all about. We are playing some very good cricket and we are confident at this very moment,” he added.

New Zealand managed to survive by the barest of margins on the last day of the first Test against India after a gritty performance from their lower-order batters, ensuring that visitors walked away with a draw. The Kiwi spinner also said that playing at Wankhede stadium is a nostalgic feeling for him, as he grew up in Mumbai and has his family in the city.

“It’s a bit emotional. When we landed in Mumbai yesterday and earlier when I used to land at the airport, I used to go to my family or friends but this time it was different, as this time I was with cricket, representing New Zealand. I have been at Wankhede earlier also for some IPL games, thanks to Mitchell McClenaghan. I have bowled a few times during the practice sessions, so yes, it’s cool as well as nostalgic at the same time,” said Ajaz Patel.“It’s a special moment for me. My family have never seen me play in person. So, it will be the first time they will be in the stands, it is a great feeling,” he added.

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SHREYAS’S BODY LANGUAGE IS HIS STRENGTH, ISHANT’S ALTERNATIVE WILL ALSO HAVE TO BE FOUND

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At present, the most talking point in cricket is Virat Kohli’s inclusion in the second test and question arises that who will be out in the playing XI for Mumbai Test. It is indeed a tricky question as Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s bad times are getting longer. Especially Rahane because his performance has declined significantly since the Melbourne Test. Even this year his average has come down to below 20 runs per innings.

As for Shreyas Iyer, I had said about him three years ago that one day he will be a part of the Test team. His body language is so positive that looking at him it seems that he will go a long way in the Test team. I also want to say for him on this platform that he will become the captain of Team India one day. I had predicted the players like Sehwag, Gambhir, Saurabh, Dravid, Yuvraj etc. at the time of playing for India A and their result is in front of you.

Actually Shreyas Iyer has scored a lot of runs in domestic cricket as well as his batting has been excellent in IPL. Seeing his dominance on the cricket field, it seems that there is no pressure on this player in the field. There is only a desire to perform well, which he seems to fulfill by putting good shots. Although some people may raise questions that Shreyas had come to Team India as a replacement.

Now when Virat comes, he should vacate the place but I don’t agree with that. Keeping him in the team will not only boost the morale of this player, but will also send a message that everyone wants to take forward the player who performs well. Though Karun Nair didn’t get chances despite scoring a triple century but it is equally true that you should have consistency at the national level but that was not seen in his performance.

In fast bowling, Ishant Sharma no longer appears to have the same stamina as before. This has been happening for quite some time now. I would not be surprised if Mohammad Siraj is seen bowling in the Mumbai Test.

The author has played 35 Tests and 59 ODIs for Team India as a left-arm spinner.

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CSA confident of hosting series in a secure bio-environment

According to the CSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, CSA has instituted world-class standards and measures to ensure that all players, staff and officials are protected within this environment.

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The Proteas men’s team has been part of no less than eight international cricket bio-secure environments (BSEs) in total – thvese have ranged from home tours against England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and most recently the Netherlands, to away tours to Pakistan, West Indies, Ireland, Sri Lanka and the ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arad Emirates (UAE) and Oman.South Africa is slated to host India in three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is with the tour to commence on December 17. According to the CSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra: “CSA has instituted world-class standards and measures to ensure that all players, staff and officials are protected within this environment. Our main focus was to safeguard the cricket biosphere by managing strict entry standards and limited movement outside of its cordon.”

Dr Manjra has emphasized that the BSE has met the highest standards set by the national government and CSA is continuously looking at ensuring that the management of the BSE is second to none in the world.

“What we have implemented at our BSE is a cordon sanitaire which offers full and continuous protection to all individuals who respect and abide by our very demanding guidelines and rules”, added Dr Manjra in an official release.

“Playing cricket in a BSE was a massive challenge for everyone involved in the game,” commented Proteas white-ball captain, Temba Bavuma. “CSA has to be commended for the way that they have gone about the BSEs. It hasn’t been an easy year for us all. Being confined to a hotel room and being restricted from leaving the hotel and having the choice – in most places away from home – between your room and the team room and little access outside the hotel takes its toll, particularly for the all-format playing members of the team and management. I’m confident that our BSEs are of the highest safety standards and the protocols are set not only with everyone’s physical well-being, but mental health in mind,” he added.

Proteas Test captain, Dean Elgar echoed Bavuma’s sentiments, saying: “It’s hard to believe that we’ve been working in these BSE conditions for a year now, but anyone who has been affected, either directly or indirectly by the COVID-19 virus, knows that this is a necessity if we want to continue playing cricket.”

“It takes a toll on a player mentally and yet this team continues to produce good results and make progress – that’s something that I personally don’t think is being spoken about enough. The measures that have been put in place and the hotels have been chosen take into account the teams’ physical and mental health needs. We don’t know how much longer we’ll be operating like this, but it’s gratifying to know that when tours come around the health and safety of all involved is a top priority,” Elgar concluded.

Chairperson of the CSA Board, Lawson Naidoo commended the resilience and fortitude of the Proteas, saying: “The Proteas have endured difficult BSE conditions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet their hunger to play the game and represent their country triumphed over all the discomfort. CSA is proud to have athletes of this calibre; those who are readily prepared to put the sport first. We accordingly thank the Proteas for their exemplary zeal and appreciate their sacrifices.”

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LIONEL MESSI TAKES HOME HIS SEVENTH BALLON D’OR

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Popular Argentine striker Lionel Messi on Monday (local time) won the 2021 Ballon d’Or, adding the seventh golden ball to his account. The 34-year-old, who is also the star player of Paris St-Germain football club, has won Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The official Twitter account of Ballon d’Or #ballondor tweeted, “HERE IS THE WINNER! SEVEN BALLON D’OR FOR LIONEL MESSI! #ballondor.”

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski ranked second and Chelsea’s Jorginho stood third as runners up to the Ballon d’Or. “Congratulations Leo Messi and @alexiaputellas winners of the #BallonDor2021, congratulations also to all nominated players! I won Striker of the Year Award and no player can win an individual award without strongest team and loyal fans behind him. Thank you for your support,” tweeted Lewandowski.

Gianluigi Donnarumma of PSG also took home the Yashin Trophy for goalkeeper of the year, and Pedri Gonzalez of Barcelona won the Kopa Trophy for the best young player. Alexia Putellas of Barcelona won the women’s Ballon d’Or. The Ballon d’Or ceremony crowned mainstream footballers at the Theatre du Chatelet, in Paris.

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ABID ALI, SHAFIQUE GUIDE PAKISTAN TO EIGHT WICKET WIN

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Abid Ali and Abdullah Shafique went on to play knocks of 91 and 73 respectively as Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by eight wickets in the first Test here at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium on Tuesday.

With this win, Pakistan has gained a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.

Heading into Day 5 of the Test, the visitors needed just 93 more runs for the win and the opening batters made light work of the chase. Resuming Day 5 at 109/0, overnight batters Ali and Shafique started from where they left off and the duo kept Bangladesh bowlers at bay. However, the 151-run opening stand finally came to an end in the 43rd over as Mehidy Hasan dismissed Shafique (73).

Abid Ali (91) failed to reach the three-figure mark and Pakistan lost its second wicket, still, 31 runs away from the target. In the end, it was Azhar Ali (24*) and skipper Babar Azam (13*) who took Pakistan over the line by nine wickets in the first session on Day 5.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 330 and 157; Pakistan 286 and 203/2 (Abid Ali 91, Abdullah Shafique 73; Mehidy Hasan 1-59).

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